ReCollect: a Short Story

Last weekend I attended a Writer’s Conference as part of the faculty (for those of you not familiar that means I was there working as my editor persona). The odd thing about conferences is that I tend to come away with little nuggets even when I’m not officially attending. And this one was no different.

I realized I needed to be more consistent in my writing of stories. I don’t know what that looks long term (as in for tomorrow). But for today, I’m using a prompt from Five Minute Friday. As the name suggests, I wrote without editing (Lord, preserve us all) for five minutes. So now that you know what’s going on. Here is my story about “Collect.”

I let the stones trickle over my fingers and into the grey box. 1-2-3-4-5. Smooth, cool. The thunks of the landing echoing against the cardboard where I’d stashed my mishmash collection of stones since I was a kid.

A deep red I found on the beach—Spring break with my mom. The Petoskey, engraved with strange, long dead coral—summer vacation with husband. Sea glass, quartz, …

A record without words. I tucked the box back into the shelf and leaned my head against the cabinets breathing in the rain scrubbed air. Relishing the quiet that only comes from vacation, fresh-air, and showered kids tucked in bed.

Today, I’d added a non-descript yellow stone—the color of caramel. My little three-year-old little man was convinced it was a semi-precious stone, perfectly polished by the rain or maybe dropped from heaven by God himself.

But I’d discarded it. Let it drop by the wayside. Unsure of it’s value. Only to have him tuck it in my pocket where I found it later as I undressed, full of remembering his sneaky little fingers.

More precious than anything else in my grey box.

19 thoughts on “ReCollect: a Short Story

  1. So excited that you joined 5 minute Friday! I fall deeper into your story as you describe texture and ethereal meaning. Brings me back to my childhood days at the beach. Thank you for this, Janyre💙

    1. There are snippets of this one that are real. Thoughts of my childhood and my kids layered together. We LOVE the beach.

  2. Love this! I joined 5 minute Friday but have yet to actually commit to it 😉 I love how you captured a sense of the moment-I was right there with you in just a sentence or two.

  3. “Rain scrubbed air.” I actually quit reading and just savored that phrase. Janyre, reading your story was like eating an ice cream bar (except without the calories). I tried to make it last as long as possible!

    1. Thank you so much, Pearl. I was a little nervous to try and construct a short story in five minutes…but I’m looking forward to the challenge, and sharpening my skills. I’m amazed at how random stories like this end up shaping longer pieces and characters. I kind of like this character and I’m curious where she’ll go.

    1. Ah-h, thanks, Andrew. Glad you enjoyed hanging out in my imagination. I’m glad you cried for good reasons and not that the writing was so bad 😉 And heart-shaped rocks are one of the many things that remind me someone is out there looking out for me and loving me wherever I am and whatever I’m doing. Praying for you in your journey.

  4. Love it Janyre! I’ve been thinking about giving FMF a try. You are inspiring me. (But largely unedited is very bad for me 🙂

    1. Maybe you should do FMF, but just use whatever you write in your 5 minutes as a springboard for a little bit longer session. Or just give yourself permission to run through it one time and make edits. I tend to edit myself as I write. It’s just the way I operate. I found that out the hard way last November trying to start a book for NaNoWriMo. It was a painful, but good lesson!

  5. Children’s gifts of rocks and other various collectibles are their expression of love for us. They are expressing their love when they give us their new found valued “treasures.” My father kept every small pea gravel sized stone that his first born grandchild brought to him that she had retrieved from his long graveled driveway. By the time she quit bringing them to him, he had a large jar full. At his death, she asked if she could have the rock filled jar in memory of her grandfather. Unfortunately, my mother had returned the stones to the driveway from which they came not realizing that the jar of stones represented the love between “Bobpa and his granddaughter. My heart hurt for my daughter. The memory of that sad day still brings tears to my eyes now years later. When my other daughter expressed an interest in rocks, we visited rock shops, collected rocks from just about anywhere – driveways, creek beds, beaches etc for her to put in her rock polishing machine. I kept her collection for years but finally passed the box on to her for save keeping. Now I occasionally receive small stones from my young grandson along with an explanation of why they are valuable. I accept these gems with great pride because I know it “tickles” his heart as I express great delight in receiving his tokens of love. And I place them in a container on my counter for safe keeping.

  6. Children’s gifts of rocks and other various collectibles are their expression of love for us. They are expressing their love when they give us their new found valued “treasures.” My father kept every small pea gravel sized stone that his first born grandchild brought to him that she had retrieved from his long graveled driveway. By the time she quit bringing them to him, he had a large jar full. At his death, she asked if she could have the rock filled jar in memory of her grandfather. Unfortunately, my mother had returned the stones to the driveway from which they came not realizing that the jar of stones represented the love between “Bobpa and his granddaughter. My heart hurt for my daughter. The memory of that sad day still brings tears to my eyes now years later. When my other daughter expressed an interest in rocks, we visited rock shops, collected rocks from just about anywhere – driveways, creek beds, beaches etc for her to put in her rock polishing machine. I kept her collection for years but finally passed the box on to her for save keeping. Now I occasionally receive small stones from my young grandson along with an explanation of why they are valuable. I accept these gems with great pride because I know it “tickles” his heart as I express great delight in receiving his tokens of love. And I place them in a container on my counter for safe keeping.

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